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Single Shot of H1N1 Vaccine May Be Enough for Kids
Date:12/21/2009

But two doses still needed to ensure protection, experts say,,

MONDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A single dose of the H1N1 flu vaccine may be enough to guard children and infants against potential infection, Australian researchers report.

Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children and infants get two doses of the H1N1 vaccine, spaced about a month apart. This is the same recommendation the CDC has for seasonal flu vaccine, because usually a first dose is needed to prime the child's immune system for the second dose to create enough antibodies to be protective.

"It does appear that a single dose is to be very likely all that is required, even for babies," said lead researcher Dr. Terry Nolan, head of the Melbourne School of Population Health and Department of Public Health at the University of Melbourne.

This finding runs counter to the usual expectation that two doses are needed for children who have never been immunized against flu before, he said.

Giving a single dose to children may be most useful in vaccinating large populations. "It's logistically simpler, it's half the cost and for those unable to get the two doses, there are obvious advantages," he said.

This vaccine is likely to be highly protective against pandemic swine flu, Nolan added. "In addition, there is nothing to be concerned about in terms of safety or reaction rates to the vaccine."

The report is published in the Dec. 21 online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, Nolan's team tested the effectiveness of the H1N1 flu vaccine in 370 infants and children aged 6 months to 9 years old. The children were randomly assigned to receive two injections of the vaccine, at either 15-microgram or 30-microgram doses.

These are higher doses than what is usually given, which is 7.5 micrograms, Nolan noted.

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